9th February was the birthday of an Irish poet, short story writer, novelist, and playwright Brendan Francis Behan. Brendan Behan (9 February 1923 – 20 March 1964) noted for his powerful political views and earthy satire. While not in jail or in pubs, Behan worked in odd jobs and wrote plays and stories that colorfully depicted the life of the ordinary working men. Several of his books were banned in Ireland. Behan spent most of the years from 1939 to 1946 in English and Irish penal institutions on political charges. However, his writings are lively, full of humor, and do not show much signs of anger or bitterness toward the world at large. Presenting some poems : Being Poet
ON THE EIGHTEENTH DAY OF NOVEMBER...
Just outside the town of Macroom.
The tans in their big Crossley tenders,
Came roaring along to their doom.
But the boys of the column were waiting
With hand grenades primed on the spot,
And the Irish Republican Army
Made shit of the whole mucking lot.
OPEN THE WINDOW SOFTLY
Open the door softly,
Shut it-keep out the draught,
For years and years, I’ve shed millions of tears,
And never but once have I laughed.
It was the time the holy picture fell,
And knocked me old Granny cold,
While she knitted and sang an old Irish song,
It was by traitors poor old Ulster was sold.
So open the window softly,
For Jaysus’ sake, hang an old latch,
Come in and lie down, and afterwards
You can ask me what’s the catch.
Before these foreign-born bastards, dear,
See you don’t let yourself down,
We’ll be the Lion and Unicorn,
My Rose unto your Crown.
I REMEMBER IN SEPTEMBER
I remember in September,
When the final stumps were drawn,
And the shouts of crowds now silent
And the boys to tea were gone.
Let us, oh Lord above us,
Still remember simple things,
When all are dead who love us,
Oh the Captains and the Kings,
When all are dead who love us,
Oh the Captains and the Kings.
Far away in dear old Cyprus,
Or in Kenya’s dusty land,
Where all bear the white man’s burden
In many a strange land.
As we look across our shoulder
In West Belfast the school bell rings,
And we sigh for dear old England,
And the Captains and the Kings.
I wandered in a nightmare
All around Great Windsor Park,
And what did you think I found there
As I stumbled in the dark?
It was an apple half-bitten,
And sweetest of all things,
Five baby teeth had written
Of the Captains and the Kings.
THE LAUGHING BOY
It was on an August morning, all in the moring hours,
I went to take the warming air all in the month of flowers,
And there I saw a maiden and heard her mournful cry,
Oh, what will mend my broken heart, I’ve lost my Laughing Boy.
So strong, so wide, so brave he was, I’ll mourn his loss too sore
When thinking that we’ll hear the laugh or springing step no more.
Ah, curse the time, and sad the loss my heart to crucify,
Than an Irish son, with a rebel gun, shot down my Laughing Boy.
Oh, had he died by Pearse’s side, or in the G.P.O.,
Killed by an English bullet from the rifle of the foe,
Or forcibly fed while Ashe lay dead in the dungeons of Mountjoy,
I’d have cried with pride at the way he died, my own dear Laughing Boy.
My princely love, can ageless love do more than tell to you
Go raibh mile maith Agath, for all you tried to do,
For all you did and would have done, my enemies to destroy,
I’ll prize your name and guard your fame, my own dear Laughing Boy.